Is this your first ATM operating system migration project or have you been through this process once or twice or even several times before? How did those projects turn out? Did you get everything done on time as planned, or was there a mad dash at the end to try and meet your deadline? Maybe your project finished way past the target delivery date and/or ran way over budget. And while a lot has changed in 50 years since we first saw ATMs, too many things have stayed the same.
If you are old enough to remember what things were like when ATMs were originally deployed in the US, you can easily see how much the world has changed:
- No PCs (so no Microsoft Windows!)
- No CDs or DVDs or HDTV
- No internet (so no Google or Amazon Prime or social media)
- No cell phones or tablets or streaming video
- No eCommerce or EMV or PCI DSS or data breaches or even POS terminals
Yes, these were real ATMs, but they would hardly be recognizable to most people today. If you ever stared into the “periscope” display of an IBM 3624 machine, you know what I am talking about.
Much has changed through the years to bring us to where we are today. All the change has meant a lot of work for everyone, spread over too many projects to count. I have had the good fortune to work with some very talented people on some really interesting projects, but as you might imagine, some of the projects went well, some not so well, and some were total disasters.
Half of IT Projects are Doomed to Failure? Don’t Let Yours Be One of Them
McKinsey's research indicates “half of all large IT projects … massively blow their budgets”. Additionally, McKinsey states that “On average, large IT projects run 45 percent over budget and 7 percent over time, while delivering 56 percent less value than predicted. Software projects run the highest risk of cost and schedule overruns.”
There are many reasons why projects fail. McKinsey and others, like the Project Management Institute (PMI), have written volumes about the best ways to set-up, fund and manage a project. But I think most expert opinions largely ignore one critical aspect of any project: testing.
If you have ever been involved in a large project, you may be familiar with this story. Because testing has historically fallen at the end of a project, it tends to get described in one of the following ways:
- “We’ll figure it out when we get there.”
By the time we get there, it’s already too late to figure out the testing. Paragon has received calls on Friday from people who are supposed to start testing on Monday and do not have any tools or resources in place.
- “We’ll make up any lost time when we get to testing.”
Since most estimates are extremely overly optimistic about how much testing needs to be done and how long it will take, there is usually no way to make up for time that is lost in other phases of the project. What often happens is that testing gets rushed or cut short and things fall through the cracks.
- “We’ll bring in extra resources to help with testing.”
While extra resources can sometimes be brought into a project, how many people can you have standing in front of an ATM in the lab at one time? In today’s world, the extra resources may not have the skills or experience required to do a credible job, or they may be located halfway across the planet.
The effort to upgrade your ATM fleet yet again almost certainly qualifies as a large project for your organization, involving significant amounts of time, resource and risk. In order to help you avoid the classic mistakes listed above and make your ATM migration project a success, Paragon put together an ATM Test Plan Checklist to share our 25 years of testing experience.
Testing is all we think about and all we do. Based on our customers’ experience across a broad range of projects, we’ve learned that investing in the right test tools, such as virtualization and automation, will not only help with your ATM migration, but will position your organization to reduce testing costs, deliver new services more quickly, and increase test coverage for the long-term.
Over the next few posts, we will explore each of the points from the checklist, highlighting:
- Building a solid foundation
- Automating everything
- Optimizing your testing environment
Whether you are just getting started with your Window 10 migration project or are well down the path, Paragon is here to help.